Superfoods….are they really that super?

I’m always surprised at the amount of attention that certain food items receive on the web and sometimes on TV. Fortunately I don’t have cable so I am spared the light night infomercials. Google the term “superfoods” and you will come up with all kinds of things that you must have in order to maintain the best possible health. At times it almost sounds like if you don’t have them then you’ll be taking years off your life and Viagra is going to be a man’s best friend because in some way, shape or form testosterone and/or libido is going to suffer. It’s almost as if the drug companies are writing some of these ads.

First things first: I’m all about healthy foods. I like to drink raw milk from grass fed cows. I was lucky enough to find a dairy in the town I live in that sells it. Blueberries are my favorite berries and I could sit and eat a bowl full any time of the year. I believe in butter. I think range fed meat is great and I love veggies like beets and any other colored variety that comes out of the ground. I think those things are wonderful. Just this morning I cooked some egg whites (I’ll get to the yokes in a bit) with spinach mixed in. I sliced some beets and boiled them for just a few minutes. The yokes mixed with some butter, coconut oil, raw milk, and feta in a double boiler to get a nice creamy sauce was the perfect finish. My wife and I both enjoyed. Now the question is this; do I eat this every morning?  False. I do not.

Second: I’m not necessarily against anyone using vitamins, especially if there is a known deficiency that is being treated. In fact, when I counsel people at the pharmacy, I often counsel on the use of CoQ10 for people taking statins or beta-blockers. Can you get CoQ10 from diet? Sure ya can. But especially for people over 40 and those who take medicine that deplete CoQ10, the diet alone may not be enough, especially when considering you need to eat heart and other organs to get a larger amount. People can either be turned off to this or just not eat enough. So the supplements or vitamins in certain cases make sense. However I am not for people taking vitamins just to take vitamins. People should be informed about what they are taking and why they are taking it. Not to mention some tablets just don’t break down and some forms of vitamins don’t get absorbed well. Make sure your money isn’t literally being pooped out daily.

Third: Moderation, moderation, moderation. Yes blueberries are packed full of antioxidants. Coconut oil is ~50% lauric acid (depending on what you get). Beets have ample supplies of lutein and zeaxanthin. Egg yolks are packed full of cholesterol (yes I just said cholesterol), fat soluble vitamins and choline. Should your diet consist of blueberries slathered in coconut oil for breakfast, sliced beet sandwich for lunch and raw egg yolks for dinner? Of course not! I would bet you would start having some sort of allergies develop or be gassy in front of loved ones. Not to mention the people who are going to pee purple or red and poo the same from all them tasty beets. MMMM! This is a problem with American culture and one that is surely familiar with most people. We overdo it, period. Anything that is perceived as or that IS good is taken to the extreme.

Exhibit A: Blueberry extract. You can buy supplements which claim that you can get the benefit of 36g of blueberries, in 1g of capsuled blueberry extract. Down 1-2 of those in the morning and you have all the antioxidant status you need for the day.

Exhibit B: Asparagus extract. Pretty much similar to blueberries. Bodybuilders will sometimes down asparagus or extract because of its diuretic effect, helping achieve a more “cut” look. It also claims that it supports urinary health. That could be because of increased urine flow or because of the anti-bacterial effects it seems to exert on some vulnerable species.

Exhibit C: Acai. This is touted as a super antioxidant because of its high ORAC value. ORAC stand for oxidant radical absorbance capacity. Essentially it measures the ability of an antioxidant on free radicals. The higher the value, the higher its ability to neutralize free radicals. They are better known to be a weight loss supplement. If anyone can find me a good study that shows it weight loss abilities, I would like to see it. Some people claim that it has helped them lose weight. I think that’s great, but I wonder what else was being done. I have a hard time believing that adding calories to your diet is going to make you lose weight. The ads continue online everywhere you go and I don’t think they’ll be stopping soon.

Wrap up: This post could be QUITE a bit longer. My purpose in writing this is to hopefully get people aware that there are important things that we need to eat in our diets. Blueberries will forever be a part of mine. So will eggs and beets. MODERATION is the key. I don’t get blueberries everyday, unfortunately but  I would eat them daily if I had them. Not because of their health benefits but because they are just so darned tasty. I’m also not trying to denigrate the supplement industry or the products. I think CoQ10 is great, when used properly. (Don’t go and start taking mega-doses though if you are on warfarin, it may cause you to start bleeding). Know what a supplement or food is and why you are taking/eating it. If you are eating some of these “superfoods” because you like them, go for it. Just do it with other foods as well. You can’t live on blueberries forever. And if your pharmacist tells you that a certain medication may reduce levels of this or that, don’t go overboard on trying to replace them without talking to the doc or your pharmacist first. We can talk about things like iron in another post that would belong to that category. Enjoy healthy eating with all of nature’s wonderful tasty treats and remember that no foods are super, they just work in concert with everything else you eat.

CIAO

The Brute

Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.